German Secret Weapons of WWII

Contents: • • • • • • • • Surface-to-Surface missiles Air-to-Surface missiles Surface-to-Air missiles Air-to-Air missiles Anti-Tank missiles Radar and ECM Aircraft Guns U-Boot warfare

Surface-to-Surface Missiles
The A-4, also known as the V-2, was a ballistic missile. Its rocket engine used liquid oxygen and alcohol, pumped in the thrust chamber by specially developed turbopumps. The V-2 could carry its 910kg warhead at distances up to 320km. Once launched it could not be intercepted. The launchers were mobile, including a so-called Meillerwagen to carry the missile itself. Slave workers in underground plants produced about 10,000, but less than half were actually fired, primarily at London and Antwerp. Planned developments included the winged A-4b and the intercontinental A-10. The A-4 was extensively tested by the allied after the war, and the engineers who developed it contributed to later ICBM and space programmes. However, the V-2 was probably a failure as a weapon, because its cost was too high compared to the damage it did.

Fieseler Fi 103
Also known as the V-1 or FZG 76, this was the first practical cruise missile. The Fi 103 was a small aircraft, with a wing span of 5.3m or 4.87m depending on the model. It was powered by a pulse-jet engine, the noise of which lead to the nickname of buzz-bomb. To bring the V-1 up to the working speed of the engine, the Fi 103 was launched from a ramp or carried into the air by a launch aircraft. A compass controlled the course, and the travelled distance was measured by a small propeller. At the end of the range, the V-1 was steered into a steep dive. The acceleration then caused the engine to stop, but because this gave prior warning of the impact later V-1s were modified to prevent this. The V-1 flew at low altitude, and its speed just allowed the fastest allied fighters to intercept it. This, and the use of proximity fuses by the AAA, made an effective defence against it possible. London was hit by 2419 V1s; Antwerp by 2448. See also the V-1 Page.

The Rheinbote was a four-stage, unguided long-range artillery missile. It was a solid-fuel missile with very slim proportions. It was 11.4m long, weighed 1715kg at launch, and had a range of 215km. Its warhead was only 44kg. About 200 were fired at Antwerp in late 1944.

Friedensengel The Friedensengel was a set of wings and tail surfaces. Construction of the wings was unusual: The aerofoils were made of concrete. Over 2300 Hs 293 missiles were fired. Do 217 or Fw 200. an operator steered the bomb to its target using a radio command link. Others seriously damaged the Italia and the British battleship Warspite. Henschel Hs 293 This was the first guided missile that entered service in large numbers. In the launch aircraft. and a flare in the tail burned to help the operator sighting. big projectile by detonations of charges in multiple chambers that were spaced out along the barrel. Blohm und Voss Bv 246 Hagelkorn The Hagelkorn was an unpowered long-range glide bomb. Many other victims followed. Several guidance systems were tried. About 450 were produced. It was carried by bombers like the He 111. He 177. with a underslung rocket engine. was the first successful guided bomb. Two hits with Fritz-X sank the Italian battleship Roma. The Hs 293 was a glide bomb of aeroplane configuration. also known as FX-1400. Air-to-Surface Missiles Blohm und Voss Bv 143 The Bv 143 was a glide bomb for anti-ship use. Production of Fritz-X was limited to about 1400. accelerated by a rocket engine. sank the cruiser Spartan. including five destroyers. Fritz-X Fritz-X. This made Hagelkorn one of the first anti-radar missiles. A feeler arm was designed to keep the Bv 143 about 2m above the water. . It had an excellently streamlined fuselage. on 27 August 1943. The onboard control system also freed the launch aircraft from the need to maintain the exact speed and altitude required by the torpedo.000m. Range was up to 200km if released from 10. Over 1100 were produced before the project was cancelled. A radio command link was standard. It was usually carried by specially equipped Do 217 or He 177 bombers. The sloop HMS Egret. and the missile was cancelled. including the Radieschen radar homing system.V-3 The V-3 or Hockdrückpumpe was not a missile system. It was a primitive seaskimming missile. It consisted of a 1400kg armour-piercing bomb. designed to extend the range of a standard 765kg air-launched torpedo. There were also versions with wire guidance. and wings with a very high aspect ratio. had the dubious honour of being the first ship sunk by a guided missile. around a steel core. fitted with four wings in a cruciform arrangement. and a tail ring with spoilers for control. The concept was to accelerate a fairly conventional. and the experimental Hs 293D had TV guidance. but an advanced gun. but it did not work properly. and damaged the cruisers Savannah and Uganda.

Hecht Surface-to-air missile. It had a streamlined body and twin tail fins. its cockpit replaced by a large (3500kg) shaped-charge warhead. Zitteroschen Zitteroschen was the first supersonic. e. Over 250 were built. It did not enter production. He would aim the Mistel at a target. It was intended as a anti-ship weapon. A small number was built. It was powered by a rocket engine and had radio command guidance. Plans for large scale operations. Henschel GT 1200 The GT 1200 was a powered glide bomb for use against ships. . Mistel The Mistel combinations consisted of a twin-engined bomber. Feuerlilie Anti-aircraft missile. Few were delivered.Henschel Hs 294 Derivative of the Hs 293. winged. with a fighter (Bf 109 or Fw 190) mounted on top. Schneewittchen This was an improvement of Friedensengel. The combination was controlled by the pilot of the fighter. It was designed to dive into the water at the end of its trajectory. it was never ready. travelling to final trajectory to its target underwater. were abandoned. Although development continued until the end of the war. Surface-to-Air Missiles Enzian The design of Enzian was inspired by the Me 163 rocket-powered fighter aircraft. and guided missile.g. The bomber was unmanned. It had four boost engines and a sustainer. against Soviet power stations. in development until it was replaced by more promising designs in 1941. it had small triangular wings and two rocket motors. and additional tanks were installed to transfer fuel to the fighter. in practice almost always a modified Ju 88. Its delta-wing layout and relatively fat fuselage were similar. but problems with the engines and the guidance system were never resolved. Intended for use against ground targets. then uncouple his fighter to fly back home.

29m.Henschel Hs 117 Schmetterling Of all experimental surface-to-air missiles. and in some occasions test missiles seem to have been fired in anger. and with proximity fuses. Its shape was that of a small aircraft. It was smaller. by means of a radio command link. rather crude in design. Range was about 32km. with the missile preferrably fired from about 1. With a length of 4. At the end of the war it was in mass production. Wasserfall The Wasserfall SAM was developed at Peenemüde.93m long. The program was cancelled in February 1945. It was planned to fit a proximity fuse for the 25kg warhead. It had a 20kg warhead.5km distance. but of similar shape and also powered by liquid fuels. Rheintochter This was a large anti-aircraft missile. and it could be used against targets up to 10. but it never entered production. It had the shape of a small aircraft. Rheintochter III was smaller than Rheintochter I. Control was again visual aiming with a radio command link. It had four wings. Hundreds were test fired. The project was abandoned in December 1944. Kramer X-4 The X-4. A proximity fuse would ignite the 235kg warhead. although in such cases guidance problems were considerable: Aiming was visual. but had better performance. arranged in cruciform shape. It had a boost engine in the tail. . using a radio command link. and a sustainer in the front fuselage. although a wire-guided version was also developed. At the end of the war it was in production. when it was close to the production stage. The operator used input from radars tracking both the target and the missile to steer it.000m high. mounted above and below its fuselage. and could reach altitudes up to 15000m. Over 300 were fired in tests. six fins on the center body. Like other German missiles.5km. There were also experiments with air-drops. and was based on experience with the A-4. Taifun This was an unguided anti-aircraft weapon. but it was never operationally used. also known as RK 344. and four small control fins. it was a relatively small missile. this one came closest to an operational weapons system. and two boost engines.5kg warhead. also known as V-2. it used radio command guidance. It had four tail fins. with a sustainer rocket engine in its body. Taifun was accelerated to Mach 3+. Air-to-Air Missiles Henschel Hs 298 This was the world's first AAM. was probably the first practical AAM. with the use of radar for guidance. It was a simple. Range was about 3. 1. and four canard control fins. spin-stabilized rocket with a 0. Range was about 9km. Two guidance wires were unrolled from spools on the wings. It was intended to fire salvos of 30 missiles. But no X-4 missiles reached operational units.

Small numbers of preproduction missiles were used in combat. had a maximum range of 4km. Peipenkopf This anti-tank missile used electro-optical guidance. They were stabilized by eight folding fins. The aerials had four masts on the nose of the aircraft. Radar and Electronics FuG 200 Hohentwiel Anti-ship radar. Anti-tank Missiles Kramer X-7 Rotkäppchen This was a wire-guided anti-tank missile.R4M This was a simple unguided rocket. FuG 202 Lichtenstein BC Nightfighter radar. There was also a Steinbock version with IR homing guidance. fat body. It had longer masts. With a range of 1500m and a warhead of 0. large twin fins.5kg shaped-charge warhead. but after the war many airforces introduced folding-fin aircraft rockets (FFAR) based on the R4M. . a simplified and updated FuG 202. they were very effective against allied bombers. Lichtenstein operated on 409MHz. It had a 2.5kg. with a diameter of 55mm. FuG 212 Lichtenstein C-1 Nightfighter radar. installed on large maritime patrol aircraft such as the Fw 200. The X-7 had a short. The R4M was not used on a large scale. and a minimum range of 200m. with a small streamlined cap over the nose of the mast. Pinsel This anti-tank missile used electro-optical guidance. each with an X-frame on top that carried four tandems of vertical dipoles. There was also a version with an armour-penetrating shaped-charge warhead. Fighters such as the Me 262 could carry wooden racks with twelve R4M missiles under the outboard wing panels. and a trailing arm carrying the guidance wire spool.

Berlin used a wavelength of 10cm and was based on captured examples of the British cavity magnetron. The parabolic dish antenna was installed inside a streamlined nose cover. It did guide nightfighters to the bomber stream. angle precision 0. Later sets could use different frequency bands and also had a switchover capability for short ranges. but it was not actually capable of tracking H2S-equipped bombers with sufficient precision for an intercept. Typical for the SN-2 radar were four large curved masts. FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2 Nightfighter radar. detecting them at a distance of 60km.FuG 218 Neptun Airborne radar. FuG 240 Berlin Centimetre-wave airborne radar. its minimum range 130m. It is little known that the Germans had operational radar in the beginning of the war. FuG 350 Naxos Z Naxos detected the emissions of the H2S ground-mapping radar sets of allied bombers. Between 30 to 50 were issued to service units. FuGM 402 Wassermann Long-range ground detection radar. its maximum range was 5km. It operated at a frequency of 125MHz. until this was cured. frequency between 120 and 158MHz. or as four masts.25 degrees. each carrying a tandem set of vertical dipoles. tracking the allied Monica tail-warning radar sets. and used it effectively against British bomber raids. and had a maximum range 5km. Range 190km. projecting from the leading edges. Later sets had the dipoles not vertical but at 45 degrees. and a tandem set of dipoles on each tip of the cross. Range precision 300m. fitted under the tailplane or on the rudder. FuGM 80 Freya This was a long-range ground radar.5 degrees. mostly on the Ju 88G-6. . A small mast on top of the vertical fin was fitted for tail-warning. A version with four sets of three antennas was fitted to the Fw 190. The first version operated at 91MHz. with a minimum range 500m. Range precision was 125m. FuG 227 Flensburg The Flensburg was a passive homing device. Other versions of Naxos were used by U-boats to warn them against the approach of allied aircraft with ASV radar. angle precision 0. The use of Naxos caused a scare among allied bomber crews. Its aerials were arranged as a single nose mast with a large X-cross. Frequency could be set between 158 and 187MHz. Antennea were fitted to the outer wing panels. The allied reacted by removing Monica from their aircraft. It was installed in a teardrop-shaped cover. Some sets also had a tail-waring antenna. Freya had a range of 120km. It was often combined with FuG 202 and FuG 212 because of the large minimum range.

FuGM 39/62 Short-range ground radar. Range precision 300m. or in the overlapping area that would lead him to the target. and more sensitive to jamming. that allowed the calculation of ground speed and the timing of the bomb release. Range up to 300km.Knickebein The Knickebein was the radio navigation system used by German bombers in the first phase of the battle of Britain. three crossing beams were used. Sometimes fitted in a conical nose cover. with the tips of the anttenas protruding from it. this was far more sophisticated than Knickebein. angle precision 0. Apart from a broad and narrow beam that guided the bomber in the direction of the target. A single mast carried three crosses of antennas. for which the Naxos receiver was developed. Metox Also known as the Biscay Cross because of its shape. A disadvantage was that X-Geräte was a fully automated system.2 degrees. By listening to the receiver. Range 170km. The rumour that the British were able to "bend" the beams is baseless. In this way blind bombing was possible. It was ineffective against centimetric radars. FuMO 51 Mammut Long-range ground detection radar. Kiel IR detector. . frequency between 120 and 138MHz. this was a radar warning receiver carried by Uboats. However. the pilot could determine whether he was in the left beam. and therefore was not identified by the British. Spanner II used passive detection only. angle precision 0. when the 30MHz beams were finally detected. This type of radar was most frequently used to guide nightfighters to their targets. Wurzburg. Spanner IR detectors. Morgenstern Alternate antenna arrangment for the Lichtenstein (or Neptun?) radar. Spanner I used an IR searchlight. It was based on the Lorentz landing aid system: A ground station transmitted two overlapping beams. the right beam. X-Geräte Another radio navigation aid. range precision 100m. It warned them against the presence of aircraft with long-wavelength ASV radars. Only Spanner I was of any use.5 degrees. coded with Morse pulses. frequency 560MHz. This reduced drag. they were easily jammed. decreasing in size towards the tip. The receiver was just a more sensitive version of the standard blind landing aid.

with a calibre of 365mm and 10m long. the British Aden and the French DEFA cannon. Aircraft Guns G 104 The G 104 was an enormous recoilless gun. Each barrel contained a charge. thus allowing it to calculate the distance to the target. Both 20mm and 30mm versions were developed. triggered by a photocell. Muzzle velocity was 470m/s. A few were installed in service aircraft. It never entered service. fired in a single burst a at an extremely high (36000rpm) rate. but muzzle velocity was down to about 550m/s. firing downwards or upwards. with the firing split in three actions. then make a diving attack on the target.Y-Geräte The Y-Geräte navigation system again used a single directional beam. The barrels of the MK 108 low-velocity 30mm cannon were used. Mauser MG 213C This was a revolutionary design: The first revolver cannon. a projectile and a counterweight. It used a five-chamber cylinder. . Rheinmetall SG 113 The SG 113 was a simple recoilless 77mm gun. but after the war it inspired the American Pontiac M39. so a number were installed. it was used by elite "pathfinder" crews in specially equipped aircraft. Gustloff Suhl Reichswerk HF 15 The HF 15 was a highly unusual gun. Rheinmetall SG 117 This was a seven-barrel recoilless gun. The idea was that the carrier aircraft would swing out the barrel. The MG 213C was never produced in series. Like X-Geräte. The round contained a single charge and seven or nine 15mm projectiles. A transponder in the aircraft retransmitted the signal to the ground station. Each barrel was a single-shot weapon. The 30mm version fired at 1200rpm. The barrels were fired in sequence when the gun was triggered by a photocell. The 20mm had a rate of fire of 1400rpm and a muzzle velocity of 1050m/s. The SG 117 remained experimental. It fired a weight rearwards to cancel the recoil. Hermann Goering Werke SG 116 The recoilless SG 116 used the barrel of the MK 103 high-velocity 30mm cannon. and a weight was fired rearwards at the same time as the projectile. The tube was open at both ends.

Rheinmetall SG 118 This was a 21-barrel version of the SG 117. Like the XXI. which were towed by allied ships. Type XXI U-boot Derived from the hull of the type XVIII. This made the 2100-ton type XXI U-boot a much more dangerous adversary than the older type VII. Type XXIII U-boot The type XXIII was a 275-ton submarine for coastal operations. They were intended for use against convoys. the type XXI had a diesel-electric engine system comparable to that of older U-boats. Acoustic Torpedoes The T4. Rheinmetall SG 119 This was a combination of seven SG 117s. However. these caused them to run in a preset pattern. With the Walter engine the Type XVIII reached a speed of 24 knots underwater. and carried only two torpedoes. Together with the streamlined hull this allowed the type XXI to reach high speeds under water (17 knots submerged. but with greatly enlarged battery capacity. Fitted to standard torpedoes. U-boot warfare Type XVIII U-boot The XVIII was the first operational submarine design to use the Walter drive. The Walter engine used hydrogen peroxide for combustion. . About 60 were delivered. Hydrogen peroxide is a liquid that can be stored in tanks aboard a submarine. This earned it the name "Elektrik Boot". it had an enlarged battery capacity. instead of a straight line. T5 Zaunkönig and T11 torpedoes were fitted with primitive acoustic homing devices. but it also highly reactive and therefore dangerous. It carried 23 torpedoes for its six tubes. 16 knots on the surface) and stay under water for up to three days. but it was considered too dangerous. which were loaded hydraulically. but it was too late. These were primarily intended for use against escort vessels. Shipyards delivered 120 of this type to the Kriegsmarine. which had become far too vulnerable to allied aircraft. The T11 did not enter service. instead of outside air. It was much smaller. both the T4 and T5 were easily diverted by noisemaking decoys. The type XXI was much copied after the war. and therefore had 49 barrels. In a different category were the FAT and LUT devices. Orders for this type were cancelled in favour of the type XXI.

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